Honest Mistakes or Simply Lies?
By WILLIAM S. LIND
".....The reduction in violence in Iraq, which is likely to prove temporary, has four causes, the least of which is the surge.
In order of importance, they are:
1) Al Qaeda’s alienation of much of its Sunni base, a consequence of its attempt to impose its Puritanical version of Islam before it won the war and consolidated power. This is a common error of revolutionary movements. The smart ones back off and take a “broad front” strategy until the war is won, at which point they cut their “moderate” allies’ throats. Al Qaeda’s non-hierarchical structure, coupled with the message it employs to recruit, may prevent it from adopting a broad front strategy. If so, that may prove a fatal weakness.
2) A change in policy by the U.S. Marines in Anbar Province whereby they stopped attacking the Sunni population and started paying it instead. As the FMFM 1-A argues, in 4GW, cash is your most important supporting arm. The Marines’ new policy, which has now spread to the U.S. Army and beyond Anbar, enabled the locals to turn on al Qaeda and its brutally enforced Puritanism.
3) General Petraeus’s decision to move U.S. troops off their FOB’s and into populated areas where they could protect the population instead of merely protecting themselves.
4) Last and least, the surge, which made more troops available for #3. Absent the other three developments, the surge would have achieved nothing.......
A state will be re-established in Iraq only if and when authority comes from a person’s position in the state hierarchy, e.g., governor, minister, mayor, army or police commander, functionary, etc. Services must also come from the state. At present, as best as I can determine, this is happening seldom. If at all......
In fact, the relative peace now prevailing in Iraq is largely the product of deals the U.S. military has made with real non-state Iraqi authority figures. These deals were both necessary and prudent, but they represent de facto acceptance of the reality that there is no state....... "